Dental radiographs (often called x-rays) are an important part of your dental care. Together with an oral examination, they provide a more comprehensive view of what’s happening in your mouth. One of the primary reasons we go to the dentist is to detect dental problems before they turn into serious concerns. While a physical examination can find noticeable problems, some oral diseases are just not visible to the naked eye. This is why dental X-rays are such an important part of dental care. Dental X-rays can detect even the slightest traces of oral health problems at their earliest stages.
Dental X-rays can assist in evaluating various conditions.
These may include:
- Familial dental anomalies.
- Outcome of previous endodontic treatments
- Determining the cause of oral swelling
- Assessment of unerupted teeth
- Injuries to the teeth after trauma
- The health of the alveolar bone
- Determining how many teeth are present in the mouth
- Detecting missing teeth
- Bone loss or periodontal disease
- Malpositioning or impacted teeth
Safety of dental radiographs
While many worry about the radiation exposure from X-rays, there really is no need for concern. Modern technology has reduced radiation levels to minuscule amounts. For almost 25 years, the American Dental Association has published recommendations to assist dentists in making sure that radiation exposure is as low as effectively possible. At Pe’Teeth dental studio, we make use of digital radiographs to make exposure as brief and minimal as possible.
Dental X-rays are typically performed yearly or more often if your dentist is monitoring the progress of a dental problem or treatment.
Factors affecting how often you get dental X-rays may include
- your age
- your current oral health
- any symptoms of oral disease
- a history of gum disease (gingivitis) or tooth decay
If you are a new patient, you will probably require dental X-rays so that your new dentist can get a clear picture of your dental health. This is especially important if you don’t have any X-rays from your previous dentist.
Different types of radiographs
Depending on the image the dentist is looking for, various options are available. These include:
- Bitewing. Bitewing radiographs are used to look at the crowns of the upper and lower teeth in one area of the mouth. Bitewing X-rays are used to look for cavities between the teeth that are hard to see otherwise. They can also be used to monitor previous fillings for wear.
- Periapical. Periapical radiographs are zoomed in on one or two teeth, and they display the whole tooth from the crown to the root. These X-rays can be used to look for problems with the tooth’s root or the surrounding jaw bone as well as cavities.
- Panoramic. Panoramic radiographs show your child’s whole mouth, so all the teeth on the upper and lower jaws will be visible. Panoramic radiographs can be used to monitor your child’s tooth development or to see if he or she needs orthodontics. These radiographs can also be used to see emerging teeth, impacted teeth, or tumors.
- Occlusal. Occlusal radiographs show the entire arch of teeth in either the top or bottom jaw.
- Cephalometric. These radiographs show the entire side of your child’s head. These images are useful for planning orthodontic treatments.
- Cone Beam Computerized Tomography. These radiographs are different from the previously mentioned types in that they provide a 3-D view of your child’s mouth. A 3-D view is useful when the dentist needs to gauge the space and development of your child’s teeth.
The true value of dental X-rays lies in the way they discover dental problems before they have a chance to progress. Early detection of problems can save you from the pain, time, and expense of treating them after they’ve worsened.
Like brushing and flossing, regular dental X-rays are an integral part of your overall oral health. Depending on your age, caries risk and health, X-rays may be performed every 6 months to two years. Be sure to call our rooms to book your next dental check-up.